While getting out may be the first concern for a beginner, it isn't as suprising. I do agree that you should use the up if you're trying to just get out. If you grab the arm then you can role it into an armdrag and submit your opponent from there.
The other locks include an elbow role that can turn your opponent away from you. This can lead into one of a half dozen armlocks.
The up escape sets up some leg submissions and give you their back, at least for a second.